On Monday, April 24, 2017, Cleveland City Council approved providing $88 million toward the $140 million renovation of the Quicken Loans Arena, home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. While the vote was mostly one-sided with a 12 to 5 decision, there are those in the community who oppose that decision and hope to put a referendum on the ballot for a city-wide vote.
A coalition of groups including the Greater Cleveland Congregations, the Cuyahoga Progressive Caucus, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, AFSCME Ohio Council 8 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268 have put together an effort to gather the signatures of at least 6,000 Cleveland registered voters, the amount required in an attempt to put a referendum on the ballot to allow the voters of the city to determine whether or not they support the decision to allocate the $88 million to the Cav’s arena renovation that is to be funded by the city turning over admission tax funds for a designated number of years.
In return the Cleveland Cavaliers have committed to remaining in Cleveland through 2034, provide a contribution to Habitats for Humanity and refurbish basketball courts throughout the city.
The groups opposed to the city’s agreement to fund over half the cost of the renovations, slated to begin this summer, say it’s not enough when there are issues of unemployment, poverty, challenges in the public schools and crime that could be addressed with those funds instead of the renovations to the 22-year old basketball arena.
The groups will have to work fast; the time period for gathering the needed signatures is 30 days from the time it was signed by Mayor Frank Jackson, which was accomplished on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
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